Thursday, December 19, 2013

Complicated


People are complicated. We don't want them to be, but they are.

It's so easy to put people into stereotypical categories to help us feel we understand them, but nobody fits those categories exactly- usually not even close.

We need to let people be complicated. It will uncomplicate our lives by causing less disparity between the reality in our heads and the real reality.

When you let someone be complicated, it then becomes okay if they do something you don't expect. It becomes okay if you find out there's a new side to their personality you never knew. It becomes okay that they may have done something bad in their past, but they aren't like that now.

Letting people you love be complicated is the hardest but most important. We like to feel that we know and understand those that are close to us, but you never truly know everything. There will still be complicated situations, but if you already understand this, then it will lessen the shock.

Another person to let be complicated is yourself. You are a changing person- every book you read, movie you watch, person you interact with, every thing you eat changes you. We have new experiences every day that assimilate into our way of thinking- either falling into place or creating new lines of thought.

When you learn something new, it's okay to add to or change your way of thinking because of it. I've heard things that just felt right that weren't what I knew before, but I added it to my thoughts because it felt right.

Let yourself and others be complicated.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Third Pregnancy

We lost our first child at five months along in the pregnancy. It was sudden and unexpected. Based on what happened with him, we expected to lose the second one, or if it did manage to make it that it would have serious problems. Amazingly, she was only three weeks early and besides a little jaundice, she was just fine.

Almost every day of that second pregnancy was very hard. Our innocence was gone. I remember days that I'd be driving home from work in a good mood, then see a mother and child walking along and by the time I arrived home, I was sobbing.

We went to the doctor frequently, and every trip we expected to be 'the one'. The one where we were told to go to the hospital and that the baby wasn't going to make it. Eight long months of expecting the worst, squashing hope down ourselves so it couldn't be smashed any other way, hating all the parents who casually complained about their kids all the time. Hating every parent who abused, neglected, and took their children for granted or flat out didn't want them. Ignoring everyone who 'just knew' everything was going to be okay- you can't know things for us and our life. We were going to a specialist monthly, and I was popping over five pills every day.

It was so hard.

But after almost eight months and everything still looking good, we finally were able to hope that just maybe everything would be okay. Maybe we should buy a crib and a car seat. Maybe people could throw a baby shower.

It was still hard when we came out of our appointment at eight months and six days with a command to go to the hospital, time to get the baby out because you're sick. Don't worry, it's not HELLP Syndrome, just toxemia- we can handle this. We came out of the building and just held each other and I cried, especially as we watched a pregnant teenage couple walk in the building.

She was born and perfect (minus a little jaundice and figuring out breastfeeding). She's tall and thin like her dad, but she's definitely a mini-mom sometimes.

We were happy, overwhelmed, and ignoring everyone's "I told you it would be okay"s.

We're pregnant again, just over three months along. Doctor said everything is looking good so far, blood pressure is still low even. I'm just taking a baby asprin along with the pre-natal vitamin this time. Being the third pregnancy, my poor stomach is definitely more stretched and showing more, but I hear that's natural. Baby should come out okay, though probably still a little early given my history of being medically induced because I'm sick.

It should be easier, be more normal, and it is for the most part. But every time something happens, like a headache, I worry that it might be something more. What if it's a sign that something is wrong.

Now that we have a lot of hope for this little one to survive and thrive, if something were to go wrong, we'd fall a long way down after our hope was shattered.

Every time I don't feel as good, I can't help but think that it's a sign that something is wrong. We're not going in every two weeks now, and we know from previous experience that a lot can happen in the four weeks between appointments - the difference between life and death. I will probably think this way the whole pregnancy. Silently building in my head until my husband gets a surprising crying fit. Then it starts over again, he's good about it though.

So when you see us or think of us, send good vibes our way. But just remember, we'll never have the extremely happy pregnancies that so many others have. We'll be excited, but it will always be overshadowed by what if.

On a happier note- we've got an interesting thing going on. I had a dream it was going to be a girl, so that's my thought. My husband had a strong premonition it would be a boy, so that's his thinking. We're excited to find out either way when the baby is born.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Light Sharing


"A candle loses no light when lighting others. Build others up whenever you can, support those close to you and help whoever you can – you never know when the tables will turn." -Author Unknown

It is easy to see others' talents and abilities as outshining my own sometimes. If I praise someone else, does that take away from what I've done? No, it adds to my light by being able to appreciate the good that others do.

In my play writing class, the teacher had us read plays by others to help us get the feel of them before we wrote our own. He was very adamant though that we not be intimidated by what we read. Some plays are for some people while other plays will touch other people. We can each have an influence over certain people that other people cannot. On the same note, there are people we can't touch that someone else can. 

If we all let our light shine bright and let other people shine as well, we can fill the whole world with beautiful light.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snowflakes Upclose

Alexey Kljatov took these amazing up close pictures of snowflakes. They almost don't seem real, but they are beautiful. Nature is amazing.







There are more pictures here: http://www.natureknows.org/2013/11/amazing-macro-photography-of-individual.html.
tographer Alexey Kljatov takes incredible close-up photos of snowflakes in his backyard in Moscow. Read More: http://www.natureknows.org/2013/11/amazing-macro-photography-of-individual.html
Photographer Alexey Kljatov takes incredible close-up photos of snowflakes in his backyard in Moscow. "I capture snowflakes on the open balcony of my house, mostly on glass surface, lighted by an LED flashlight from the opposite side of the glass, and sometimes in natural light, using dark woolen fabrics as background." Read More: http://www.natureknows.org/2013/11/amazing-macro-photography-of-individual.html

Friday, December 6, 2013

Playwrighting


I attended the first session of my play writing class, and I am the youngest by a good thirty years at least. The others all know each other from acting in plays together, so I'm the odd one out in several aspects, but they are all grownups and accepting so I don't feel left out.

I've never tried writing plays before and it's very different from other writing. It's mostly just conversation with a few interjectory notes to help the actors, and the rest is left up to the actors and director to fill in. In a film script, there can be long sections without words, but a play without words wouldn't work very well.

In the olden days they would say someone wrought a might work, which has come down to playwright. After I've written a play, I will have wrought it, so am I now wrighting it?

I had three years of pre-school, kindergarten, the regular 1-12, then four years of college after that. I still love to learn though and have taken several community classes since graduating. Learning is a lifelong goal for me, and it helps me to stay mentally sharp and challenged. Reading a lot of different books also helps.

Right now my new learning challenge is writing a play. I've started and the characters have taken a surprising turn from when I set out with my idea. My teacher said that sometimes you'll have a great idea, write it down, won't use that part, but will use everything after. We'll see where my play goes from here, but I am enjoying it, and it's helping me in my goal of writing a musical.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Not Just Black And White

As much as we'd like to think that the world is black and white, right and wrong, there really are gray areas. 

A teacher I had held up a piece of white paper and a piece of black paper while talking about making decisions. Then he held up a piece of bright white paper that made the seemingly former white paper look grayish in comparison. 


I think it's a good comparison for life. We think we are making white decisions, but then realize that our white isn't as pure and bright as we thought. They are still not black decisions, but not the whiteness that we though.
"Nothing about life is black and white. Nothing. But for some reason, most people can't understand or accept that. This will cause them to be horrible to you. 
"They'll tell you that you're not a good person, because they've learned to see goodness only in one specific shape that you don't fit. They'll tell you that your experiences aren't valid, because their experience was different. They'll tell you that your problems aren't legitimate, because they don't like what it would mean for them if they were. Your depression is just laziness, because if it were a real thing, that would mean your life is harder than theirs. Your questions are just a lack of faith, because if you were doing everything right and things still weren't working, that would mean their whole system could be wrong. Their privilege (white, male, thin, heterosexual, mental health, beauty, parents' money) isn't real, because that would mean that they don't deserve the things they have, or that their problems aren't legitimate. Everything is zero-sum to them, black or white, right or wrong. You can't be right, because that would make them wrong.
"But people are never all good or all bad. They are hurting, they are stupid, they are full of self-loathing. They are treated badly by others, too. They are working with the information they have, and thanks to the fact that all the same things were true of their parents, that information is often harmful bullshit. 
"Don't let people push that bullshit on you. You figure out for yourself what you believe about the world; don't take anyone else's word for it. Do your own research. Question everything you think. Listen. Seek out different perspectives. Trust but verify (always, always verify). Obey only your own conscience. Talk to people who respect your feelings. Don't be a Me Monster yourself—other people's problems don't make yours less important. Don't compare. Never one-up.

"Don't try to make life black and white. It isn't. Resist the temptation—and I know it will be strong—to assume the worst about people. You'll need a certain amount of self-confidence to accomplish that; try to cultivate it. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others, but don't think that means letting people treat you badly. Saying no is not unkind. In fact, no might be one of the most important words you learn. You can love someone and still say no. Say no to beliefs they try to impose on you. Say no to expectations you don't need to fulfill. Say no to anything that conflicts with your soul, and pay close attention to yourself so you know what that is. Never stop examining yourself, your beliefs and intentions and actions. Yes, this is as exhausting as it sounds. But "only a fool desires cheerful ignorance."*

"Life cannot be black and white, because you will never know everything there is to know about it. The world has enough people who believe they know all there is. We need people who know they don't."
---
Try not to think in terms of my view verses your view, but rather think in terms of compassion and understanding.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving






I made two pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving yesterday. (They weren't as fancy as the one in the picture, but that's how I wished they looked.) I pulled them out of the oven after an hour of baking only to find white spots all over the tops of them.

I had to rush out the door to pick up my husband from work. When I got back I investigated closer and discovered that the white spots appeared to be egg whites that hadn't mixed in very well. So I threw those pies away, went to the store for more ingredients, and made two more pumpkin pies.

Things I'm thankful for: a store that is five minutes away, money to buy pumpkin pie ingredients ... twice, family to eat the pumpkin pies, a car to drive us to the store and to family, and good weather to drive around in.

Happy Thanksgiving, may there be much thanks given along with the delicious food!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Possibilities

"Rather than starting your day with a stressful list of things you have to do,
 try greeting the day with a joyful list of things you want to do!"

When I make a to-do list for the day, I usually title it "Possibilities". Then I include things I want to do along with the things I need to do. 
 
Here's my list for today:

Possibilities
-grocery shopping
-clean bathrooms
-babysit 3-6
-crochet (I'm working on a blanket)
-work on newsletter
-make dinner
-read book
-write blog post!

There's a good chance I won't get around to cleaning the bathroom today, but it's just a possibility, so if it's not done, there is always tomorrow.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Good Book Day

I get my avid love of reading from my parents. My mom always has a good book recommendation, like Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.


In my mom's words, "I've read nearly all of Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek books so I was really looking forward to reading this new one, about Elizabeth Keckley, who was Mary Todd Lincoln's modiste or in other words, her dressmaker. This book did not disappoint. Jennifer has a real talent of bringing history alive. Elizabeth was born into slavery but through sheer hard work and determination, she was able to buy, not only her own freedom, but also the freedom of her son. I was very impressed by her and by her amazing loyalty to Mary Todd Lincoln, who I thought, did not deserve it at times, nay, much of the time. Elizabeth stayed by her side through thick and thin, especially when Mrs. Lincoln nearly went mad with grief with the loss of her young son, Willie. The scene where Abraham Lincoln finally points out to her the insane asylum and tells her she may end up if she doesn't get a grip on herself, which she does, was rather foreboding, as she really ends up in an asylum towards the end of her days. I really didn't know much about the wife of President Lincoln, but I had heard that she was rather a handful and the book proves this right. I was amazed that she managed to amass over $70,000 worth of debt, which is huge now, but would have been even huger then, and over what---dresses, boas, furniture, etc. She was exceedingly foolish in that regard. Poor Elizabeth put up so much with Mary and yet at the end of her days, when she is living in a small basement room and after being treated rather shabbily I thought, she still has a portrait of Mary on her wall. No matter what I think, it is a testament to Elizabeth's undying devotion, loyalty and forgiveness."

Check it out and have a good book day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Unrealistic Expectations


I was talking with my husband and I said, "I don't know why we think everything is supposed to be easy and that we should always be happy." We would definitely like to be happy all the time and have an easy life, but it's just not realistic all the time.

Unrealistic expectations in life can cause real disappointments. I don't think we should have a negative outlook on life. I'm an optimist, and I enjoy it. There's a psychological term "self-fulfilling prophecy" meaning that if you believe something it can come true. I think that's wonderful!

Pessimism is unbecoming. It is a depressing way to live. Some people say they are pessimist so they won't ever be disappointed and will sometimes be pleasantly surprised. But a pessimist wouldn't be pleasantly surprised, they would just find something wrong.

Being a realistic optimist is what I like. You have high hopes for life, but you understand that bad things can and do and will happen. People die before you think they should, people get sick, people lose jobs, natural disasters happen, human nature kicks in and makes a mountain out of a mole hill. But you can still see the silver lining on the storm cloud, you can still see the good in most people, you can still see the blessings you have in your life.

Plan for tomorrow but live in the present.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Portmanteau Words



Portmanteau words are a combination of two other words to form a new word with a combined meaning. 

For example, blog is a combination of web + log = blog.  

Some other common portmanteau words: brunch = breakfast + lunch, camcorder = camera + recorder, spork = spoon plus fork. 

I recently heard some new fun ones that I might start using: jelly = jealous + happy, and voluntold = asked but also told (expected) to volunteer.

Do you know have any portmanteau words you like?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

To Love At All


The heart is vulnerable, but it also brings the most joy. Everyone will have their heart broken for some reason or another during their life, probably multiple times. But if you can find someone or something that can fix your heart, you will be much happier and live a fuller life.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Good Book Day

"He never speaks. He never makes eye contact. No one has ever touched him. They say he’s retarded. Autistic. Strange. his name is Smitty, but everyone calls him “The Alien,” and Ginny is intrigued. She’s been feeling like an alien in a strange world since she and her family moved here from the West Coast. Against her first impulse, Ginny vows to make contact with Smitty. To be his friend.

But still waters run deep. And Smitty is like the ocean. Ginny soon finds herself being sucked under – going out too far. But Smitty is the one who could drown. Because the world he‘s created is safe from love, from pain, from everything. There’s no room for anyone else. At least – till Ginny comes along...." (website)


I read The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen Randle at least five times when I was in high school. I also read select parts of it many times more. I worked at the public library in high school and there was a copy of this book that someone had marked up- underlined the best parts. Once in a while on my break, I'd grab that copy and read the underlined parts. I eventually bought my own copy of the book.

This book isn't a science fiction book, it's about feeling like an alien in this world, especially as a teenager. I don't know that I felt too much like an alien, but every teenager does to some degree. Even as adults we still feel like that sometimes. This book resonated with something inside me. It's a good book for teenagers and adults to see the world through someone else's eyes. That often helps us see our lives in a different way.

Check it out and have a good book day!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Perspective

My daughter had a cold over the weekend with a lingering runny nose. It kept her up a lot one night, and we've used a lot of tissues.


My husband and I are sad for our little girl because it's always hard when kids are sick, especially if they can't tell you what's wrong.

Then I talked with someone else who mentioned their same-age daughter was throwing up all weekend and had a fever over 100 degrees.

I felt better about my daughter's cold, just needed a little perspective.

When things seem bad, it can help to realize how much worse it could be. It's good to remember to be thankful for what you have and grateful for what you don't have.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lifelong Friendships


I have some good friends that I've known for over ten years. I have some good friends that I've known for less than five years, but I'm pretty sure eventually it will be ten years, then fifteen.... I have other friends that I used to spend a lot of time with that have drifted away.


Sometimes I wonder what makes some friendships last, worth the effort of keeping while others seem to require too much effort to hold onto and so they float away.

Were the floaters just friends of convenience, of right time right place, but now it's not the right time, place, or convenience? Was it still a true friendship? I think it was still a true friendship. Sometimes we need people at certain times and don't need them later. Our life lines crossed but went different directions. It's not wrong or bad, it's just life.

The good friends that stick around for over ten years, that you still love to hang out with even if you haven't seen them for a month or two, must have something deeper and more solid in the friendship, even if you can't define what it is. They are the friends who just don't care what you look like or who you know or how much you can give them. They are the friends who can tell you the silly things they did because they figure you probably did them too, or at least would understand why they did it. 


Maintaining these friendships doesn't seem to require as much effort, though distance can make it harder to see each other physically. There are still phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, and social networking to stay in contact. These friends make you want to stay in contact, to make an effort to hangout. But they also know if you don't call them for a month you still love them and are just busy with life.

I'm grateful for my good friends, grateful that I have multiple good friends, and grateful that some are family also. I know everyone doesn't have long time friends, but everyone can become a long time friend by being a good friend and caring about others. Hold on to the friends that will last for years.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Small Adjustments

 TBSM

Sometimes, like yesterday, I realize that though I'm not in a bad place, I'm also not exactly where I want to be. Nothing is terribly wrong, but it's also not terribly right. It takes just a couple small adjustments to get back on the right track so I end up where I want to be down the road.

It's simple steps like just doing the dishes instead of jumping on facebook for the second time that day. Picking up the thing on the floor that I've walked past five times already. Organizing all the papers that seem to accumulate on the counter while I watch a tv show. Putting on a jacket and enjoying the weather and beautiful fall leaves before it gets too cold. Or taking a couple minutes to cook some broccoli for dinner while the rest of dinner is cooking.

It's easy to get lazy and skip steps that don't seem important. But over time those add up and you have to kick yourself in the butt to get going again. I am the master of my time. I choose when to work, when to play, when to watch tv, when to read, how much time I spend on the computer, how much time I spend cleaning. It's my choice, it's my responsibility.

So today I will empty the dishwasher, clean the kitchen counters, do two loads of laundry, and cook some broccoli to go with dinner tonight! What are you going to do?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Halloween is today and every kid's favorite part is dressing up for trick-or-treating to get candy. 

There are costumes for all ages and sizes, but here are some of my favorites. Most of these costumes could be adapted to adults, but kid's just look cuter than adults in Halloween costumes, but as an adult it can be fun to dress up too. 

Little girls look adorable in fairy costumes.

Baby boys make cute monsters, especially popular since Monster's Inc./University.

Little toddlers always look so adorable in animal costumes, plus they are usually warm.

Here's an 'easy' homemade pumpkin costume that just looks cute and fun.

I really like this knight costume on this girl- she looks ready to slay some stuffed animal dragons.

This is an easy cute costume for Alice in Wonderland- a blue dress with a white apron.

For the last minute art lovers, Frida Kahlo. Wrap a shawl, put in flowers, and add facial hair, so funny.

You can always dress up your pet to match you or your child.


Or for an easy DIY Superman costume, put formal wear over pajamas.

This costume is really fun, and could probably be done fairly easily with a cardboard box and ski goggles.


Even before Pirates of the Carribean, being a pirate has always been a great choice.

(Click on each picture to be linked to their website.)

Originally published by myself on another blog: http://www.becominglovely.com/2013/10/halloween-costumes.html